Prior to the announcement of the final budget agreement between the state House and Senate, there were rumblings that the upper chamber wasn’t going to budge on a hard-line budget that cut driver’s education and wiped out thousands of teacher assistants. Also in peril, tax credits for historic preservation used by cities to improve their cores and boost improvements to historic areas and homes.
But when the final budget came out, a few unexpected compromises had been reached: Driver’s ed was saved, as were teacher assistants and those tax credits.
Legislative leaders were happy about what survived, but their final budget was likely the product of practical politics winning out over right-wing ideology. The GOP’s political gurus doubtless made the point that killing driver’s ed was a no-sale at the ballot box office, and that firing teachers’ assistants already hired and then leaving teachers in the early grades with no help might just cause voters, even Republican voters, to call their representatives home in the next election.
Political U-turns don’t just happen, and things that appeared condemned didn’t get a second chance because of sentiment. This was cool calculation all the way.